A Bernie-styled progressive challenges uber-conservative Georgia Republican

Greg Bluestein, Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Richard Dien Winfield, a University of Georgia philosophy professor, formally entered the race last week at an event headlined by one-time Senate candidate Jim Barksdale.

In a lengthy statement, Winfield channeled Bernie Sanders with a plan he said would “allow us to participate as equals in our democracy.”

It starts with a federal job guarantee – modeled after New Deal programs - that would employ millions with a mission to build new schools and affordable housing, expand public transit and lay broadband internet lines.
The government would guarantee affordable housing and eliminate utility runoffs, evictions and foreclosures. College tuition would be free and fulltime students would receive stipends. So would child-care and elder-care facilities.

And he’d support a “legal care for all” program – a single-payer health system – to cover personal criminal and civil legal representation to “defend ourselves against sexual harassment, discrimination or corporate abuse.”

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UGA Prof Richard Winfield Might Be America's Most Progressive Congressional Candidate

Blake Aued, The Flagpole

Winfield sees several benefits to a New Deal-style government jobs program. It will staunch the rise in inequality and eliminate the fear of joblessness, which he blames for the hatred of immigrants and minorities in the Trump era and the rise of ethnic white nationalism both in the U.S. and around the globe. And it would pressure the private sector into raising wages when companies are competing with government for workers, rather than workers competing for jobs. Workers would never again be afraid to leave their jobs, veterans would know a job is waiting for them when their service ends, undocumented immigrants could come out of the shadows, businesses would benefit from increased consumer spending, and poverty would become a thing of the past.

Jim Barksdale, the 2016 U.S. Senate nominee who introduced Winfield, warned the audience of about 100 that he’d be labeled an “impractical idealist.” So were Martin Luther King Jr. and Jesus, Barksdale said. “My message for you, Richard, and everyone here is don’t believe it,” he said.

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UGA philosophy professor launches congressional campaign

Erin Schilling, The Red & Black

United States Senate candidate Jim Barksdale spoke before Winfield, showing support for Winfield’s campaign and his focus on guaranteed federal jobs.

“We have to do the work to turn this country around and have it established on the practical, realistic view that people need jobs so they can support their families and achieve their life’s objectives because that’s what this country’s about,” Barksdale said.

Nnenne Onyioha-Clayton emceed the event and Athens businessman Charles Knox introduced Winfield to the podium. “Let me tell you about the man, the father, the husband,” Knox said. “A man who does not judge people by the color of their skin but only by the character they display.”

“One of my political science professors invited us to a town hall for extra credit and that’s when I first saw him,” Daniel said. “When he discussed his platform, I immediately walked up after and said, ‘when can I volunteer?’”

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Meet the First 2018 Candidate to Run on a Federal Jobs Guarantee

David Dayen, The Nation

Winfield’s slogan for his campaign is “Guaranteed Jobs, Fair Wages.” He appears to be the first candidate in the 2018 cycle to run on a federal jobs guarantee for every able-bodied American adult who wants one. Winfield, a philosophy professor at the University of Georgia for 35 years and the author of The Just Economy, will kick off his campaign the weekend before the Martin Luther King holiday, and that’s no accidental timing. King endorsed “employment for everyone in need of a job” during the civil-rights era, and his widow Coretta Scott King co-founded the National Campaign for Full Employment in 1974.

The district, Georgia’s 10th, is currently represented by Republican Jody Hice. He didn’t have an opponent in 2016, which was true for a shocking number of Republican officeholders in the state. And Trump easily carried the district. But this era of resistance has brought out a new crop of Democrats. Most foreground the need to reverse the president’s destructive policies. Few speak about comprehensive policy frameworks that would truly change America. For this reason, Richard Dien Winfield’s longshot bid is drawing attention from academics and activists who have longed for big ideas.

“A new social bill of rights could help transform the political and economic discussions we’re having in this country,” said Mark Paul, a visiting fellow with the Roosevelt Institute who has co-authored some of the major job-guarantee studies. “Richard Dien Winfield could deliver model legislation, setting a viable path towards achieving full employment and economic security for all.”

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